With the official 2020 Census count starting in just four months, new population estimates for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County indicate that the official count may show the region truly has turned a corner.

Figures from the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey released Thursday show that for the first time in more than half a century, the city and county both could have relatively stable populations in the next official census in 2020.

The survey’s estimate – a weighted figure based on survey results over the five prior years – was that the city’s population in 2018 was 303,587, just slightly less than the 305,704 the city had in the official 2010 Census. And the county estimate for 2018 was 1,225,561, which would be slightly above the 1,223,066 in 2010.

Neither of the projected figures may sound dramatic. But after Allegheny County lost population in each of the past five official census going back to 1970 and the city lost people in each of the prior six going back to 1960, a stable count would be reason for a party.

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Census data shows poverty down in region

It’s not flashy and it doesn’t have any one big employer driving its economy any more, but the Pittsburgh region continues its modest but steady growth, according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The data, from the bureau’s latest edition of the American Community Survey, shows that generally in 2018 poverty was down, median incomes were up, and people here continued to have health insurance.

“Obviously it’s good news if poverty is falling and median incomes are growing,” said Guy Faucher, chief economist for PNC Financial Services. “But it’s not dramatic. It’s not like there’s going to be a big driver [of job growth] like they have in tech centers like Seattle or Denver.”

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